Saturday, July 11, 2015

Waterville House Dating Cards - 1976

This list is 19 pages long - too long for one post, so you will need to click on this LINK to download the PDF file.

Houses are listed by Street, alphabetically, and by house number which is then followed by date of construction, if available. An "x" indicates that the date was unknown or the owner did not reply.

If you can add any historical information about your house, I'd be pleased to add it to what volunteers gleaned from owners in 1976.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Excerpted from Amos O. Osborn’s address to the Oneida Historical Society in 1886:


The Oneida Path was a sort of highroad, and as Indians always travel in single file, was scarcely more than 12 or 15 inches wide, and deeply trodden. It was the only path used between the settlements at Oneida and their friends, the Oneidas and Tuscaroras on the Susquehanna. It passed entirely through Sangerfield (township), entering about three miles east of the northwest corner, and leaving it about a mile north of the southeast corner, crossed the Unadilla near Leonardsville, and thence pursued a pretty distinct course to Otsego lake. It must have been this path that General Washington traversed when returning from his visit to the Oneidas in October, 1783. In his letter written to the Marquis de Chattelux, after his return, he says: "I proceeded up the Mohawk river to Fort Schuler, formerly Fort Stanwix, crossed over to Wood creek, which empties into Oneida lake, and affords the water communication with lake Ontario. I then traversed the country to the head of the eastern branch of the Susquehanna, viewed the Lake Otsego and the portage between that lake and Canajoharie."

(Click to Enlarge.)

As there was every reason why he should prefer a route known to be direct and feasible, there can be no doubt that he took this path. It is also according to the evidence of an Indian taken in Albany early in its settlement, in an inquiry before the Dutch justices, as to the location of the Susquehanna "a day and a half journey" from Oneida to the kill, which falls into that river, and this kill being the Unadilla and the crossing near Leonardsville, the distance between that place and Oneida, on the line of the path, would be then as now about 30 miles, and between Oneida, and this town just a day's journey or 20 miles. Washington's first day's travel would therefore end in Sangerfield; and as there was near this path on the land afterwards taken up by Nathaniel Ford, a spring of water and near by an Indian shanty used by the Indians on like occasions, it is reasonably certain that the General and his party stayed over night at this place. This path had been a well worn trail more than a hundred years before the settlement of this town; and although the Indians soon afterwards ceased to use it, parts of it were distinctly visible as late as the year 1849 when the late Aaron Stafford, who had known it as a boy, pointed out to the writer 40 or 50 rods of it in the woods north of the dead pond.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Masonic Temple Bells

 Photo by Virginia Keith

Photo by Virginia Keith

Photograph by Alex Meszler

I met Gerald Coggeshall in 1971, at the time of the Village's Centennial Celebration. He was a little gnome of a man, descendant of illustrious ancestors, who had lived in Waterville all his life. I don't know how many years he had been playing the bells, but it was probably something in the neighborhood of fifty, and he did so without music and with never so much as a frown on his face.

The way he told the story of the bells was fun, memorable and only slightly inventive! Stephen Gates (an historian who was also a chime afficianado and could play using a regular hymnal) complained bitterly that it was inaccurate and no way to record history, -------however ---- here it is!

Once upon a time a rich man named Ruben Tower decided to build himself a house across the street and, therefore, away from his parents’ home! And wanting to make sure that everyone knew that this new building was HIS house, he decided to put a tower on the front of it.

He knew, right away, that there should be a large clock in that tower, one that had a bell that would sound the hours, and so he wrote to the Seth Thomas Clock Company and asked them to make him a suitable clock.

“Of course, Mr. Tower. We’ll be glad to design an appropriate clock for your home, with visible faces that may be seen by all around the village. May we take the liberty of suggesting that a Mr. Meneely, of Troy, New York, be engaged to cast just the right bell so that it may be heard across the land when it strikes out each hour?”

Tower thought this was a dandy suggestion, and wrote straight ‘way to Mr. Meneely asking for a perfect bell.

Mr. Meneely not only knew his metels, he knew his money as well, and said to Mr. Tower,

“Why, sir - with such a magnificent clockworks one really should have four bells so that a tuneful chime such as that heard at Westminster Cathedral in London may likewise signify each quarter-hour in Waterville.”

Mr. Tower thought it anther marvelous idea and so, bit by bit, the tower rose; the clock faces appeared* and - finally - four enormous bells were lifted to the topmost canopy of the tower. His dream was complete!

Only to one such as Mr. Meneely would it occur that there was still a potential profit to be seen:

“It has occurred to me, Mr. Tower, that you now have four bells and that number is, of course, just one half of a full scale of notes! It would be so easy for us to cast the remaining bells - don’t you see? - and then entire tunes could be played and enjoyed throughout the community.”

Another chord was struck -- Mr. Tower agreed with the proposal (which actually included 5 more bells) and so we have it that in mid-July, 1889, the day after Mr. Meneely left, Miss Flora Garvey came by train from Utica and played the “chime” for the very first time.

*The Seth Thomas clockworks were actually installed a few weeks after the chimes were complete.


"Playing the Bells"

We don't worry about exactly where the hammer will hit .....

....we just worry about which wheelbarrow handle to push down!

That basic action is determined by the "chimer's" ability to count from 1 to 9,  following a "musical" score of numbers.

Depressing a handle sets in motion a combination of straps and chains that finally signal the hammer to strike!

The bells hang nearly 100 feet above the ground, two levels above the chime console.

The Bells

The largest bell ("F") weighs 2,062 lbs. The others are as follows:
"G" bell, 1,589 lbs.
"A" bell, 1,025 lbs.
"B-flat" bell, 814 lbs.
"C" bell, 517 lbs.
"D" bell, 410 lbs.
"E-flat" bell, 370 lbs.
"E" bell and "F" bell each weigh 287 lbs.

Total weight of the bells alone: 7,400 lbs.

Being cast of 78 parts of Lake Superior copper and Malay Straits tin, they are genuine cast bronze bells. Meneelys made the finest bells obtainable. The original cost was in the neighborhood of $2,800.

The "Hanks" bell (Masonic Memorial) weighs 800 lbs. It is dated 1824. Andrew Meneely was apprenticed to Julius Hanks* and started his own foundry in 1826.

* An interesting bit of speculation makes Julius Hanks' daughter, Nancy, the bride of Thomas Lincoln and the mother of Abraham.

(The "Hanks Bell" is often referred to as the "Baptist Bell", having - presumably - once hung in the present Baptist Church.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

N.Y. Hop Extract Works

New York hop extract works was once important enterprise.

From the Waterville Times October 8, 1936. 

Industry established in 1875 flourished for several years.
Decline of hop industry in-state resulted in suspension of manufacture of extract.
Building has been demolished.

In 1875 a new enterprise was established in the village of Waterville  which was to prove of great interest and benefit to Brewers throughout the entire union and to hop growers, especially in this immediate vicinity. This new industry was known as “hop extract.”
During the first year the works were not completed and it was not definitely ascertained what the results of the experiment would be. However, the numerous orders received for the extract, combined with the "lots of testimonials "which poured into the office from brewers, who had tested its qualities, evidenced the fact that there was a future for the industry and steps were taken to increase the facilities for manufacturing on the scale proportionate to the demand.
The first manufacturing plant of the hop extract company was composed of several framed buildings surrounded by a high board fence and located on the site where the home of Oscar Maine now stands on Mill Street.
By 1879 the factory was too small for the trade a larger quarters when needed.  A large brick building was erected on Mill Street, about a half-mile from the business center of the village, on the Waterville-Deansboro highway about the year 1882.
In the winter of 1875 the works were thoroughly overhauled and renovated, and the capacity for manufacturing increased more than three – fourths.
At the time that the works were erected but one tank or "extractor "was placed in position. This extractor had a capacity for handling about six bales of hops per day: but the demand for the extract increasing beyond all expectations, J.R. Whting, the manufacturer, decided to place in position two new extractors of much larger dimensions, with sufficient capacity for running 20 bales in from 10 to 15 hours, with the extract appeared ready for shipment. The equivalent of a bale of hops was reduced to one – 20th it’s bulk and one – 10th  its weight and securely packed into in tin cans,.
The process of extracting the hops was carried on entirely in the building. Hops which were not pressed were preferred. They were placed in large steel tanks, which worked here – tight, located on the second floor of the establishment. Other tanks  below were then partly filled with hydrocarbon, manufactured in New York expressly for the extracting process.  Water was next forced in the lower tank by means of a large steam pump, forcing the carbon up into the tanks above, which were connected with those below by means of numerous airtight iron pipes from 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Steam was then applied in such a manner that when a pressure of 130 pounds to the square inch was obtained, the best part of the hop, and in fact all of the hop except the woody substance, passed off and was run into a tank supply with what machinists  termed a “worm“ where it was distilled and drawn off ready for shipping.
The extract thus obtained preserved all the valuable properties of the hop. At that time the state assayer of Massachusetts remarked upon its analysis, “It is the hop without the leaves; the meat without the bone; the wheat without the chaff. “
The extract was always of the same color, the same strength in the same consistency, about that of tar. It contained none of the deleterious or objectionable substances which brewers were apt to obtain from the hop when used in its natural state. The extract never changed with age and thus brewers were unable to secure fresh hops at all seasons of the year. A greater benefit was derived from the same quantity of hops, as more virtue was extracted by this process then could possibly be obtained in any other manner as yet discovered.
The plant operated in all for about 16 years, at times running day and night, about 30 men being employed for all operations. The process of extracting was carried on in the second building in the same manner as in the original, but instead of two extractors eight tanks were in operation. Patrick J Ryan of this village, who was connected with the company for many years, explained that all operations were carried on in the plant. Three tinsmiths were employed to manufacture the tin cans in which the extract was packed for sale.
During the years when the hop yields were low large quantities of the extract were used by brewers, who, however preferred hops in their natural state unless a short crop caused prices of hops to rise higher than they saw fit to pay. The valuable discovery of obtaining the hop extract was controlled by a stock company with 3000 shares at $100 each.  Messrs. Chas. Green & Sons of Waterville purchased 1000 shares, the securing a third interest in the enterprise. The remaining shares were held by New York capitalists, among whom were Hon. H. M. Ruggles, president of the company; E. M. Wight, Sec.; Hon. Salem H Wales, a gentleman of great wealth and then president of the Department of Public Docks; Prof. Charles A. Sealy and J. Whiting.   W. A. Lawrence of New York was associated with Mr. Whiting as superintendent.
Mr. Whiting was lessee of the sole right to manufacture the extract both in this country and abroad. He manipulated the entire business, paying the stockholders a royalty on every pound of manufactured.  In 1875 he had but one other manufactory in operation, which was located at Hunters Point, L. I.  That plant was later abandoned as Mr. Whiting wished to concentrate his business and do the manufacturing where he could avail himself of the opportunities afforded in Waterville of securing choice, fresh hops and saving the heavy expense of freight, caused by being located so far from the great hop growing districts of the continent. The New York hop extract works also made surveys of the industry in the east, having a record of each individual hop grower together with the number of acres in his yard. In the year 1890 they also made a record of the number of bales raised.
With the decline of a hop industry in New York State the manufacturer of the hop extract also declined and the only business carried on with the sale and shipment of stock on hand. When prohibition came into effect the sale of the extract is reported to have increased and in time the supply of extract was exhausted.
During the summer of 1935 the work of razing the building was started and today all that remains of the one – time important industry is a huge pile of bricks and the remains of the enormous tanks which ones played important parts in the operation of manufacturing hop extract.  – M.W.  (Westcott.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Old Stone Church in Oriskany Falls

Copied from The Clinton Courier Jan. 18, 1978


By H. Paul Draheim

34th in a Series-


"The church tower reaches skyward

Four square to the winds that blow,

With sturdy independence

And, a Holy Place below."

These lines by Fraser Mann, appropriately describe the stately spire of the Old Stone Church in Oriskany Falls, erected in 1834 by the Congregational Society.

The Old Stone Church has had a very large and influential place in the life of Oriskany Falls during the 144 years. The tall, sky-pointing church steeple has inspired and uplifted the souls of hundreds who were home folk in the community.

It stands as a witness faithful. It speaks no words, but its silent but daily suggestion that causes all folks, young and old, to look upward, has a tremendous power.

Through the assistance of Mrs. Hazel Farquhar, church

clerk, the records were examined some years ago by this writer. These records tell the story of the old church.

Samuel Ferguson, whose home was the farm later owned by Guy Morrow, was one of the first members of the Old Stone Church. He was one of the men who assisted in drawing the stone for its erection.

Prior to the organization of the society in Oriskany Falls, Ferguson and his daughters Mrs. Eliza Osborne and Mrs. Abigail Carter, attended the church in Sangerfield Center.

For a number of years Ferguson served as chorister. His younger daughter, Mrs. Carter, was one of the early members and retained that membership until her death in 1903. Her children, Mrs. Elizabeth Kimberley and Chauncey Carter were trained early in the Sunday School, and among their teachers were Mrs. Sheldon Barker and Mrs. Amos Allen.

The church society was founded on January 31,1833—145 years ago. Almost immediately the small congregation made plans for the erection of an edifice that would stand for many years. Fashioned from stone taken from nearby quarries in an era when most of the work was done by hand, the church is one of the oldest and best preserved in Central New York. It is only nine miles from Clinton. Although the construction work was started in 1833 and the edifice was enclosed by 1834, it was not until 1845 that the structure actually was completed. No sand was used in mixing mortar to hold the stone together. Limestone was crushed and mixed with cement and wood ashes. The substance when it hardened proved as strong as the rock itself and through the years the building has stood unharmed by the elements.

Only two changes have been made in the church in its long history. Twenty memorial windows were installed about 75 years ago by descendants of the charter members. At a somewhat later period it became necessary (in 1886) to add a new steeple after a windstorm carried away a part of the original one. Except in these two respects the church was unchanged from 1845 to 1952.

One of the memorial windows was placed in honor of the Barker Family. The records show that at one time this family had 18 members on the rolls and furnished all the music. Thirteen of the

Barker Family were members of the choir and the 14th was organist. The original pews each had a door of its own. These since have been removed.

The memorial windows are to Philo and Sally Snow Holmes, Daniel and Almira King, Daniel W. and Abigail H. Barker, Harold Cross Langley, Ellen Oliver Juhl and Clara Juhl, the Brainard family, Shelton Stoors Barker, Olive Phelps Barker, Asenath Thompson, Larens H. Barker, Stephen R. and Lydia King Howe. Also, Everett E. and Melissa T. Allen; Abigail Ferguson Carter, Noah and Jane Ferguson Wells, Didelia A. Rice, Courtlandt and Abigail J. Barker, James and Phlena Allen, Sidney and Julia Putnam and Amos and

Lucinda Allen.

One immediately observes that the names of Daniel and Almira King are placed that you must read them from. the outside of the church, rather than from the inside.

One of the pews, in the back part of the church, carries the words "Del Barker, 1865" which probably was carved by a youngster of that family during one of the long Sunday sermons.. The Barkers, indently, came to Oriskany Falls from Augusta Center.

The church marked its centennial in 1933 when the Rev. William Davies was pastor. Participants of the program included Mrs. Fred Clarke, Mrs. Ethel King, Mrs. A.D. Grannis, the Rev. A.W. Allen, Syracuse; the Rev. E. C. Wattner, Fulton; Mrs. R. K. Miner, Miss Mary Nash, Miss Grace Cunningham and the Rev. E. D. Marriam, Ontario.

Monday, January 17, 2011

History online

1852 MAP of Marshall Township
1852 Map of Sangerfield Township
1852 MAP of Waterville
1874 MAP of Marshall Township
Aaron Stafford, Maj. Obituary
"An American Town" Sociological study, Williams 1907
"Back Home in Oneida" Herman Clarke's Civil War Letters 1966
Betrayal of Samson Occom, The, 1998
Brothertown Tribe, The - Will and Rudi Ottery, 1989
Campaigns of the One Hundred and Forty-Sixth Regiment, Genevie Brainard 1915
Candee Block; Fire and History 1982
CEMETERIES in Marshall and Sangerfield Townships (Cemeteries>township>cemetery)
Charles Terry, First in Seattle.
Churches - History of, by Norman Cowen
Civil War Monument
Days of Long Ago, A. O. Osborn, 1886
Forge Hollow Caves, 1937
Golf Club Opening 1901
Historic Triangle District. 1978
History of the Loomis Gang - N.Y. Sun - 1877.
History of Sangerfield, A. O. Osborn, 1886
Hop Industry, The - A. O. Osborn 1886.
Hop Extract Industry, The - M L. Peterson 1973
Kate Loftus Welch - T. Barnes 1996
Loomis Family, Norman Cowen's History of.
Loomis-Osborn Connection, The. PsBrown
Marshall Township, History of - Pomroy Jones, 1851
OBITUARY INDEX from the Waterville Times - R.F. Brown
Opera House History, Norman Cowen
Railroad Comes to Town, The - 1867
Reminscinces of Sangerfield - Abner Livermore 1851
Reuben Tower obituary 1899
Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England - Love, 1899
Sanger Lodge - Masonic Temple - 1950
Social Change in a Central NY Rural Community - Anderson - 1954
Tom Kindness, One of the Last of the Mohegans c.1905
Tower Family, The
Tower, Charlemagne I
Tower, Charlemagne Jr.
Town of Sangerfield, History of - Pomroy Jones 1851
Waterville in 1806, A. O. Osborn, 1876
William Cary Sanger, Col. Obituary
William Osborn(e)
Walking Tour of MAIN STREET 1971
Walking Tour of PUTNAM STREET 1971